It is the unrelenting dull tug in your mind late at night, keeping you awake. It is the distress signal that permeates your thoughts during the day.It is the sinking feeling drifting in and out of your core each Monday morning, and you cannot wish it away any longer: you are not only in the wrong job, but you are also in the wrong field altogether.You took a major wrong turn somewhere in your education and professional trajectory, and it feels a little too late to start afresh. Returning to the drawing board petrifies you more than staying the course. So now what?A career misstep is not easy to face, Nick Muthumbi says. Accepting it can be a slow and arduous process.Denial, bargaining, fear, suppression and a variety of other factors can come into play, and it can take years to accept and process the truth.“It feels like an extreme thing to say, but I am convinced I opened a manhole and poured five years of my life into it,” says Nick.The 28-year-old finished high school in 2011 and joined campus soon after, finishing in 2017. “For me, it was never a matter of grades.
I knew I was bright enough,” says Nick. “It was a matter of where and what course I was going to do.”Of course, he was always going to pursue tech. It was his childhood dream. After all, he had spent endless hours tinkering with his uncle’s computer and scored all A’s in computer classes.But there was a catch. As a standard procedure, in the third term, all secondary school Form Four students must fill out forms choosing universities and courses they would wish to pursue in tertiary education.
The forms also allow students to choose close to three other universities and courses in case they miss their first options. For students with varied interests, these extra choices come as a blessing as they provide room to gamble on their preferences, but for Nick, they were a trap.“I picked Psychology as a second option, but only because I could. In my young inexperienced mind, Psychology sounded like a chance to become some form of a doctor, which seemed cool to me,” Nick says.It was this uninformed, quick, and impulsive decision that Nick feels wasted a good chunk of his career trajectory.
After his Form Four results came out, sure enough, he received a letter from Moi University, Eldoret, offering him a course in Psychology.“When I joined campus, I learnt that you change courses within the first semester, and armed with this information, I called my folks, informing them of my intentions to change courses,” he says. His parents won by convincing him to pursue Psychology. “At that age, I was just a child with an ID. What did I know about life anyway?”